This is another essential and basic sauce made from simple ingredients. It is super easy to make. Prep time is about 30 minutes. The key is to get the freshest, high quality ingredients you can afford. The basil should be straight from the garden or farmer's market, the other items can be economically bought from Trader Joe's and Costco.
You'll need access to a decent food processor, I like the CuisineArt, but I'm sure there are others.
Ingredients: ( in proportion to (2) two bunches of cleaned basil leaves)
Basil: Two (2) bunches of basil approx. medium sized bowl full.
Garlic- 4- 6 cloves, depending on your preference
Pine Nuts: 1/2 cup
Extra Virgin Olive oil: 1/3- 1/2 cup
Italian Parmisian/Reggiano chesse: Finely grated, up to 1/2 cup
Step 1: Clean the Basil- Process the Ingredients
Take all the leaves off the stems, use a salad washer and immerse the leaves in water and dry thoroughly.
Using a Cuisine art food processor or similar device, place garlic cloves into the processor with the pine nuts.
Contrary to what some people recommend, do NOT put everything at once in to the processor.
It mixes and blends much better if these steps are followed.
Pulse grind the mix about 30 secs. Then add about half the olive oil, pulse again for 15 secs. You'll have a nice slurry of spicy liquid. Add as much leaves as you can, mix in and keep adding until complete add the remaining olive oil as you go until you get a creamy fairly smooth sauce. Taste and add some salt ( 1 tsp) to taste.
At this point you could be done, or you can add 1/2 cup of the grated cheese. If you plan to freeze the sauce, I'd wait till you defrost the sauce to add the cheese, otherwise you can add it now. Plan to use the pesto within 2- 3 weeks, keeping it stored in the frig the whole time. The cheese will be the ingredient that will cause the pesto to taste funny if it goes bad.
Step 2: Freezing in Single Serving Portions
Use a plastic ice cube tray to dole out single serving sized portions for freezing.
Wrap in saran and place into a zip lock freezer bag,
You can defrost only what you will use for that meal and keep the rest at their fresh, frozen state till needed.
You can use the microwave on DEFROST setting for only 15 - 30 seconds depending on the strength of your micro.
Only use the least amount of time needed.
Use the pesto sauce on ravioli or string style pasta, it works with well with a variety of grilled vegetables or on sandwiches such as chicken and grilled portobello mushroom sandwiches.